A drill sergeant at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, who married one of his former trainees and had inappropriate relationships with two other trainees, is no longer in the Army after being punished late last year, post officials confirmed.
The acknowledgment comes as the Army continues an investigation into alleged sexual assault by instructors against a trainee at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. An undisclosed number of cadre members were suspended in early April, and specialized Army CID agents were dispatched to Fort Sill to support the ongoing probe.
In the past two years, the Army has charged at least 18 soldiers under a new law designed to protect trainees, cadets and applicants from sexual abuse by training instructors. But the problem is persistent.
Fort Jackson spokesperson Leslie Sully confirmed a drill sergeant at the post was handed down a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand in October 2020, but declined to disclose the identity of the soldier. Sully also declined to share the nature and character of the soldier’s discharge.
The allegations against the unnamed soldier were first revealed when Army W.T.F. moments, a popular Facebook page documenting Army life, published a leaked snapshot of disciplinary actions taken against Fort Jackson troops.
The drill sergeant received a permanently filed GOMOR for “marrying one of his former Trainees less than 180 days from the end of the Trainee’s date of initial entry training, maintaining social media relationships with two other trainees, and failing to be at his appointed place of duty on two separate occasions.”
An administrative investigation report obtained by Army Times revealed that the drill sergeant, whose name was redacted, was visiting the former trainee at Fort Lee, in Virginia, on the occasions that he failed to be present for duty at Fort Jackson.
The trainee was attending advanced individual training at Fort Lee. AIT is the second phase of initial entry training for Army troops.
The investigating officer confirmed the visits when Defense Biometrics Identification System records revealed that the former drill sergeant had scanned his ID card to access Fort Lee on days he was reported as “present for duty” by his unit at Fort Jackson.
Army drill sergeants are considered to be in a “special position of trust,” according to service regulations that prohibit them from establishing personal relationships with their trainees for a minimum of 180 days following their graduation from initial entry training.
Trainees are considered graduated once they complete AIT or one station unit training, which combines basic combat training and AIT into one continuous experience.
Article 93a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice also criminalizes prohibited sexual relationships between recruiters or training instructors — such as drill sergeants — and “specially protected junior member[s] of the armed forces” such as applicants, delayed entry program members, or servicemembers still undergoing initial training.
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.